The driver who hit your car and caused your injuries may have been driving recklessly, but they likely didn’t crash into you on purpose. The pharmaceutical company that manufactured the dangerous drug that sickened you or the doctor who misdiagnosed and failed to treat your illness may have acted negligently, but they likely didn’t intend to make you ill, hurt you, or otherwise cause you harm.
The same can’t be said of someone who throws a punch in a bar fight, embezzles from his employer, or assaults a former romantic partner or family member.
When these kinds of intentional acts, and countless more like them that people engage in, result in injury or loss to another, they are known in the law as intentional torts. While many intentional torts such as battery, sexual assault, fraud, harassment, or cyberstalking can constitute criminal offenses, victims of those crimes can also sue in civil court to recover damages for their losses and injuries. If the behavior involved is particularly egregious, victims may also be entitled to punitive damages.